Barndale House School - Cycling

Northumberland schools win National sustainable travel awards

Two Northumberland schools have been recognised for their proactive approach to sustainable travel and encouraging their pupils and staff to think of alternative ways to travel.   

On Friday 9 July Tweedmouth Community Middle School, Berwick and Barndale House School, Alnwick attended the National STARS Schools of the Year Awards after being shortlisted as Schools of Region in June.   

Modeshift STARS is the national school awards scheme that has been established to recognise schools that have demonstrated excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel. The scheme encourages schools across the country to join in a major effort to increase levels of sustainable and active travel in order to improve the health and well-being of children and young people and reduce car use.   

Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s Services, said: “It is a great achievement for both schools to be recognised this way. They have shown how simple steps such as these can make such a difference and empower our youngest residents to help create a more sustainable future. 

“It also links nicely with our Northumberland Big Gear Change and our Go Smarter programme, both of which are a part of the council’s commitment to encourage residents to adopt more sustainable ways of travel.”  

Tweedmouth Community Middle School in Berwick was crowned winner of the National Modeshift Stars Secondary/Middle School of the Year for 2020/21 at the awards. The school has been, and continues to be committed to raising the profile of cycling to school, with staff trained as ride leaders. They took part in the Big Pedal and Bike Week, as well as the opening ceremony for the Tour of Britain. The introduction of dedicated ‘Green Ambassadors’ lead on the initiatives within the school and ensure everyone has the opportunity to get involved.  

Ben Hulbert, Headteacher for Tweedmouth Community Middle school, said: “I am overwhelmed that the school has been awarded this for a second year.  

“We, as a school, really enjoy taking part in schemes that encourage cycling, scooting or walking. We have recently improved our bike and scooter storage areas so more of our pupils can use this space, and we also have two Park and Strides set up to reduce the amount of traffic around the school.  

“Our pupils are really passionate about what a difference cycling, walking or scooting can make to their health, both physically and mentally but also to the environment, and it is great we can instil these messages to them at a young age, something which they can take forward with them in their lives.”  

Barndale House School in Alnwick won the National Modeshift Stars SEND school of the year 2020/21 for their involvement in activities such as the Daily Mile and Walk to School Week as well as their own initiatives where they teach road safety, hold car-free days and encourage their older pupils to travel independently.  

Helen Hemsley, Deputy Headteacher at Barndale House, said: “Our pupils have really embraced our initiatives to encourage sustainable travel.  
“They’ve loved taking part in the Daily Mile and Walk to School week, and our older pupils are finding a new independence through our travel training schemes.  

“We are seeing such a difference in how walking and cycling is having on their health and wellbeing and I am so pleased for the school and the pupils to have received this award.”  

In Northumberland schools are supported by the Go Smarter team to promote sustainable travel and road safety as well as developing School Travel Plans.  

Any school in Northumberland can participate for free in Modeshift STARS. On completion of an application for Modeshift STARS, schools will automatically have a brand new national standard School Travel Plan.   
Register online at 

Residents wishing to find out more information about the Northumberland Big Gear Change or how they can adopt a more sustainable way of travelling around the county can visit 

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